- Bloomin' Brands said during Wednesday's earning call it will explore strategic alternatives, which could include a sale of the company. The chain has hired BofA Securities as its financial advisor, according to a press release.
- The company has not provided a timeline on when it will complete this examination of strategies.
- "Over the past few years Bloomin' Brands has made significant progress towards its long term objectives to elevate the customer experience, capitalize on the emerging off-premise segment and expand the rapidly growing international business, and improve operating margins. These efforts have created significant market share gains and enhanced profitability," CEO David Deno said in a press release. "However, despite this continued progress, we believe the current stock price does not reflect the value of the company."
While a sale isn't a given at this point for Bloomin', it indicates an ongoing trend among casual dining brands that has ramped up during the quarter. Following investor pressure, Del Frisco's sold the company to a private equity firm and left the public market, J. Alexander's is looking at strategic alternatives while Red Robin has refreshed its board and brought in a new CEO.
Bloomin' Brands has not been spared by the pressures of Wall Street. Jana Partners for the second time in two years asked the company to seek a sale of the entire company or parts of the company, which includes Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.
Not all explorations of strategic alternatives have resulted in sales in the restaurant industry. Jack in the Box ended up taking itself off the market, instead implementing a new capital structure. While management didn’t explain its exact strategy, Bloomin' Brands CEO Deno told investors during the earnings call that the board is examining all options, everything is on the table and it's looking at all aspects of the company. That could mean leaning on expanding its brand and opening new Outbacks, in line with its peers like Longhorn’s that have been growing their domestic footprints.
Deno said the company has 50 Outbacks in the works for the U.S and is expanding in Brazil beyond 100 units following ongoing success, which included 11.2% of comp sales growth during Q3. If Bloomin' does pursue a sale in the coming months, it will join a host of other casual chains pushed to change course by activist investors, which have been prodding at the category as it lags behind other restaurant segments.